NEW CASTLE School board to raise taxes, eliminate money for trips

The board won't fund any field trips next school year.
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- People living in the New Castle School District will have to shell out extra cash next year.
School board members say they are going to have to increase taxes by six mills to pay for the $32.9 million budget.
That means a person living in a home with a market value of $46,000 will pay an extra $49.80 in taxes next year.
Biggest expenses: David Domenick, school board budget committee chairman, said salaries and insurance costs continue to be the biggest expenses in the district with more than half the budget dedicated to those costs.
While those costs went up, the district had few areas in which it could cut costs, said Superintendent Joseph Martin Jr.
The board did decided to eliminate school field trips in 2001-2002. He said those costs will have to be picked up by parent-teacher organizations or through student fund- raising if any field trips are taken next school year.
Martin said the district has been phasing out paying for field trips over the last few years and only a few were in the 2000-2001 budget.
Other costs remained steady.
"About 95 percent of our budget is fixed charges," Martin said.
The district is in several consortiums with other school districts that keep costs for things like gas and electric at a steady rate, he said. They only budgeted an extra $500 to pay those bills next year. Other increases came in the form of busing costs and special education, he said.
"Those are costs that go up, and I can't control them," the superintendent said.
Martin said part of the tax increase includes the two-thirds of a mill needed to pay the increased school debt incurred for the proposed new city high school.
The project, estimated to cost $30 million, should get under way sometime next year. School officials say that two-thirds of a mill for the debt will be part of the budget for the next 30 years to pay for the school building project.
Martin said the building project did increase his expenses for this year because the district had to front about $1 million for bond retirement. He said part of that money will come back to the district through state reimbursements after the building project starts.

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